Thursday, October 7, 2010
My wonderful little car has 240,000 miles on it, the tires are reaching the end of their safe zone, and the suspension is completely shot. Mechanics can't seem to agree on whether it is an actual safety risk or not, but they are not reassuring. I drive a couple hundred miles a week to Detroit to see family and help out Dr. Cranky, and lately I have been regularly driving on country roads and gravel paths to fish and shoot. There is also a bash on one rear side where a woman backed into the car in a parking lot, but that is merely cosmetic so I have ignored it. Although it hurts my feelings and probably offends my car-pal, I have been pondering my options. One possibility is to spend several thousand dollars on repairs. Another is to find a decent used car. And the third is to buy new. The idea of a new car started to gain ground when I saw how few reassuring used cars there are in my local market, because used cars have become an increasingly hot item in this economy. So I started to look around.
I went into this car-fantasy-shopping with the most practical attitude. I started by comparing reviews and ratings in the variety of car magazines and websites. I didn't car about style or color or any of the other ego-emotion-related features, I just wanted a safe and reliable car with enough space to carry my gear. I want something as dependable as the car I have now, and I want it to last as long.
But then I started to go to dealerships where I could actually see and sit in the cars, and - oh weak flesh! - I was seduced by the idea of heated seats, remote starter and bluetooth. After all, since I have to take money out of my retirement savings to buy the car anyway, and since I plan to keep it forever, the extra $3000 or $4000 to have the car I didn't dare dream about is a bargain when you pro-rate the extra cost.
Or so the devil on my shoulder is telling me.